Monday, October 24, 2011

Religion and War

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Religion and War

What can cause war but also have people seek peace? What can give support to nations leaders but also have them question their ethics? What can provide strength to soldiers and assure them protection? Religion. Religion has played a large roll within soldiers, helping leaders during war, and creating views that protest against and for, ideals of war.

Soldiers all over the world enlist in the military forces for United States. Many have no hope at all that they will live through the war they are fighting in to defend their country. There is hope though, that 55 million American soldiers turned to during their time in war, according to American Military History (Chambers II 60). That hope is religion in which soldiers can find strength and protection. “ Please God let me see the sunset. Please God, let me see another morning. Please God, let me see my friend again with both eyes intact and no gapping holes in his body” (James 1). This is a quote of a soldiers who turns to God in a cry of desperation to live to see another day while also describing the brutal injuries that many soldier faced in war. In hard situations many turn to something that will help them survive. In the case of war many men and women chose religion. There is something about having the assurance that you are safe and that a higher being (God) is watching after you. In a poll taken in the US army 80 percent of soldiers polled that they believed in God and had a specific religious preference. More than 100 different dominations and faith groups were represented (Chambers II 60). This poll that was taken proves that many soldiers have religious beliefs and all believe in the same God. Even though there were so many different religions represented in that 80 percent they were all united by believing in the same God. It does not matter what your religion is called, but the true meaning is what and how you believe in it. These men stood true to there beliefs and were not ashamed to say that they were religious. Leaving family and friends can make you become very lonely but knowing you have a God that is always with you and that is watching over you and your family can give a person peace and assurance. Religion has served as many purposes with soldiers, and has made war maybe somewhat easier to deal with.

Custom Essays on Religion and War

Many leaders throughout history have turned to religion to help them with issues concerning war. “ In the Persian Golf War, the president George Bush consulted the leaders of his own Episcopal Church and invited his longtime friend, Billy Graham, to the White House the night before hostilities commenced” (Chamber II, 600). It is very rare when you find a leader who is willing to stand up for what he believes in and turn to God in times of need. With the events of September 11th the U.S. has gone through some horrible losses. It has been amazing to see how our president, George W. Bush has reacted and how he has turned to prayer multiple times, announcing it to the public. Now that the United States is involved in War with the Middle East, he still turns to God with prayer for our nation. In a speech made by president George W. Bush on the night of September 11 he said, “Tonight I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray hey will be comforted by a power greater than any of us spoken through the ages in Psalm ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me’” (Williams 1). This speech shows his religious beliefs and his compassions for all the hurting people. With out the president’s prayers of other believers, many feel that the U.S. wouldn’t be doing as well as it is with the war. Dryden once said, “We are glad to have God on our side to maul our enemies when we cannot do the work ourselves” (James ). The United States was founded on religion and many of it’s first leaders were true believers of God. Many wars have been fought, and with God on our side we have won many of the battles. Some truly believe that the U.S. does so well because of it’s religious foundations. Leaders through the years have kept that spirit alive, and hopefully that spirit will continue.

Even though there are many religious groups that believe God can help us through war, there are others who believe war is all together wrong. Every major religion stresses

peace and love but yet almost every religion has been involved in war. In fact Jainism is the only religion who has remained peaceful(BBCi 1). On the other hand though many religions see that war and religion are compatible. In New Journal, an article was written about a retired Major General Buckingham who believes just that; “I’m a Christian, and I’m a soldier,’ he said. ‘I see absolutely no incompatibility between the two. There is a confluence of values” (Caudill 1). Many wars were fought in biblical times, and God protected his people and gave them the victory. For an example, the story of David and Goliath in the bible1 Samuel 171-58. In this story, the Philistines and Israelites are fighting in which the Philistines are trying to takeover the Israelites. The Philistine army is much larger than the philistines’ and even have one soldiers, Goliath, who is a giant. The Israelites though, were people of God and used just a small boy named David to defeat Goliath. In the end, because of the David’s faith he knew that God would help him defeat Goliath; Goliath is killed by David with only one sling of a stone (Bible ). Clearly if God didn’t think war was necessary he wouldn’t have helped David defeat a giant who had all of the Israelites apprehensive. “ Buckingham made reference to the New Testament. He said there is no place in it that condemns soldiers. Buckingham said killing in war is different from murder”(Caudill ). The retired General explains here that there is no condemnation from God on soldiers for killing in war. Again war was shown many times in the Bible and there is no biblical verses that preach against war. In contrast to that, Robert Kennedy said this, “Killing one man is murder; killing millions is a statistic”(James 0). Many think that no matter what killing, even during war is morally wrong. John Cannon, the creator of the web page “Another Perspective”, talks about the teachings of Jesus and expresses his animosity towards war. His was a message of love and caring and one that demanded that we cease killing and hurting one another an to begin to treating one another as the children of God which He taught that we are” (Cannon 1). He explains that we should be peaceful and stop all fighting that is going on around the world. He goes on to explain how we try to justify our actions by saying we’re defending our country. “ We claim that we are doing all of this as a humanitarian gesture. How can we proclaim ourselves the saviors of some people when we kill so many others? How is our killing of a high moral calling that the killing by those we so abhor?”(Cannon ). All of his points are understandable, but the fact that there is no scripture that say’s that war is a sin against God makes them negligible . War is always the last resort to a bad situation, and even though it’s horrible and so many people die it is necessary for change to happen. Without war the American people would have all the freedom we have. With the help of God in war the United States has been able to accomplish many things for the people.

In years to come religion will still be around and will affect war situations. Many say that religion should stay out and that it has no use in politics in war, but it has though been the cause for actions in war. Religion is and is what soldiers can find peace in, and

religion was how leaders found guidance and counsel in.

Works Cited


Chambers II, John Whiteclay. American Military History. New York Oxford University Press, 1600-60.

James, Allen. Stop the War. New York Random House, Inc., 1701-40.

The New International Version Bible. Kenneth Barker, I Samuel. Michigan Zondervan

Publishing House,157-.


Cannon, John. “More thoughts on War, Religion and Corporate America.”,

1 April 1 http// www.anotherperspective.org/advoc64.html

Caudill, Mark. “War, religion are compatible Retired Army General Christian speaks at church. April 00

http//www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/news/stories/000407/topstories/74816. html.

Williams, A.D. “September 11 News”,

September 11, 001 http//www.september11news.com/presidentbush.html

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